More Engaging Than Mind Chatter; Imagery Grabs Us

There is the old view of meditation that one empties their mind and then they are in nirvana. The assumptions if we could just quiet our mind, then nirvana would arise. Chattering of our worries, planning, analysis was the enemy.

A brief time doing what is called non-directive meditation reveals that much more enticing than mind chatter are the images that seep into our inner view. These are more than snapshots of some irrelevant street corner or some dreamy unknown possibility. Images become movies, complete with sound, touch, and emotional tone that draws us along. So immersive they are, we loose track of time, the environment around us, our original intent to mediate. We started off with the goal of standing off, untouched by our mind, heart, and the world, and instead we are wrapped up in its drama.

Scenes from the movie on the Buddha’s life, the Little Buddha, capture our struggle not to be overtaken by inner attractions when meditating. Of course, when we are working to increase imagination, we seek out such attractions and linger within them, but that discussion is for another time. Meditation can show us just as frequent and deep our inner imagery is, called or uncalled.

How to Practice Non-Directive Meditation to See Your Inner Movies

This approach comes from a practice called Conscious Mental Rest, at least how I apply it give a close view of the mind at work.

  1. Close your eyes and notice where you eyes naturally go when let go and rest.
  2. Feel the eye muscles and get to know the feeling.
  3. Focus your awareness on your relaxing eyes and stop speaking to yourself. Quiet down.
  4. Anytime chatter comes up, say “No” and make the chatter stop. Realize that you in search of more important things than your chatter at this moment.
  5. Wait with as empty of mind as you can keep. Before long, when you have the chatter under control and things are quiet, images will seep in. For a few minutes treat them the same way as the chatter by saying “No” and not letting them go any further.
  6. More and more images will show up. When you wish, let go with your opposition and submerge with some imagery.
  7. Shake off this imagery and get back to having an empty mind.

This back and forth will show you prevalent imagery is in your mind, whether you are seeking it or not.


The Chatter Cloud


An observation from the borderland between regular conscious life and the unconscious world within.

When I meditate long-enough I usually bump into something I call The Chatter Cloud. In addition to being an interesting experience, it reminds me just how independent some of our inner world can be.

Getting to the Cloud

I have to use single-pointed meditation to get there. Single-pointed meditation means reducing thinking, moving, and feeling to very, very simple terms. Paying attention to the sensation of breathe moving into the nose and out of the nose and that is it. As other stuff comes up, I ignore it and go back to holding attention at the nose. Simple but hard.

The Cloud Itself

In this simplifying process I hit a place where I hear chatter much like one hears in a busy public place, multiple human voices but none of them are clear enough to understand.

After several minutes of work (45 or more), a cloud of inner chatter moves in on me or I move in on it as I sit in one-pointed meditation. It is different than the normal chatter we all hear, this chatter feels more abstract like something from a much deeper place than the usual inner dialogue. it appears to be serious stuff, probably tied to the anxieties of living.

Beyond the Cloud

First it is suddenly there and then it passes in about a minute. Next, the cloud is gone and then I move to a clearer meditation place.

It is somewhat disturbing to hear first hand something that is probably running all the time and I’m completely unaware of it. I have to wonder what is this doing to my feelings, moods, ability to think clearly, etc.

I assume that if I can meditate frequently I can keep this cloud away but for how long? What other clouds are below the surface?